Friends, there is something that is heavy on my heart that I think is vitally important we all understand.
Children should not be removed from their parents’ care to be placed into a new home, by anyone other than a legally authorized person. Those people consist of law enforcement and Children’s Services Workers. Even then, there is a due process, checks and balances process to go through.
Your church leaders don’t have authority to remove your children and place them into another home. Self appointed gurus or ‘counselors’ don’t have legal authority to remove your kids. Even if they tell you that you must let them, and try to pressure you to do so, you do not have to agree to it. And you should not agree to it.
It is wrong, and typically illegal for someone to remove kids from their parents and try to put them into other homes–even within the church. You should stand your ground and call law enforcement if someone shows up and attempts it.
Removing children from the care of a parent is a serious undertaking. No matter how well intentioned, it will likely cause trauma and harm, and could lead potentially to them being abused and harmed in other ways. Many times they are moved around under the radar, breaking laws which are intended for child safety and so on.
I plead with you–don’t fall prey to people who assume that children will be better off shipped out of the home. Even if a parent is abusive, that parent needs to be the one who goes, not the child. The child(ren) should stay with the safe parent, and the abusive parent be removed.
And if you are in a situation where church leaders, gurus or whoever tries to say that because the “head of the house” gave permission for them to take the children, stand your ground. Call law enforcement. Do not be tricked into thinking that just because one parent allegedly gave up their rights to the children, that you have lost yours. You haven’t. Both parents have legal and moral rights to their children. And one parent can NOT “give it away” for both parents.
There are legal processes that MUST be followed if children are moved to new homes. Churches, self appointed gurus and others can not legally handle this all on their own. Don’t be fooled.
If you need help protecting your children from this type of harm, call law enforcement and CPS. Call A Better Way for support. We know that studies show that trauma such as this can leave long term impacts on children clear into adulthood. This is a serious thing.
And if you are someone who thinks, “But THIS case is different…” no, it is not. If you think the parents aren’t doing a good job parenting, then think about working hard to support the parents so they can step up their game. Do they need financial supports? Do they need parenting classes? Do they need caring, loving, involved people who are good role models? Stop thinking that it’s fine to snatch the kids and place them wherever you think is a “better home” as a first resort.
And if you have sacrificially done all you can to walk with parents and you are still concerned, then by all means, seek qualified, professional input. If you are concerned but aren’t sure if it is actually at an abuse level that warrants a call to CPS and Law Enforcement, then how about you try talking to a qualified professional to get input? Don’t think you know best and can sneak around the legal system to do what you think is best for the children.
Whether or not you know it, you will cause more harm in the long run.
If you need first hand accounts of the types of serious harm that can come to children being moved around in the illegal “church foster system” you need only to listen to specific episodes on The Plain People’s Podcast. This is a serious, serious problem, and it needs to be called out and completely ended. No more. Do not be pressured or fooled into thinking it’s OK. It is not.
Note: by all means, if you suspect or know that abuse or neglect is taking place, then do immediately place a call to CPS and Law Enforcement. I am talking about situations where things are not so clear cut. If you are a church leader, guru or “counselor”, or anyone else who knows or suspects abuse is taking place, and you do not notify CPS and Law Enforcement, you are an enabler and are allowing harm to be caused to children. And you will be held accountable for that.